2018-11-05 training log

Today was good!

I’m rather exhausted due to overwork at the day job, and my body had enough this past weekend. I crashed hard on Sunday, sleeping much of the day. A little bummed I wasn’t able to hang out as much with my family, but obviously my body needed it.

And I think it paid off at the gym today because things moved well!

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Squat. 340×1 top set. . Bar x 10, 135×8, 185×5, 210×4, 250×3, 275×2, 320×1, 330×1, 340×1. . 275×3 pause squats. 10 minutes stationary bike. . This 340 was significant: I haven’t hit a single at weight like this in a long time. It felt good, felt confident. That was my big reason for falling back and switching to Strong-15 programming: more warm-/work-up, singles, less volume, ability to focus on technique and get confidence back. Seems to be working. . Also, bar path is better; didn’t feel all over the place today. Still wider grip to avoid elbow pressure, which is making me focus more on back/torso tightness. . Skipped leg press. My adductor feels fine, but no reason to risk it; give it more time to ensure it’s healed. . . . #gym #squat #pausesquats #🍑 #ignitefitnez #liftlocal #wendler531 #531 #strong15 #liftrunbang

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The work up was to 340. Note, my all-time best is 355, so this isn’t too far away. In fact, looking at my logs and I really haven’t singled at this weight – I’ve been in the area, and many of that was some time ago. So this actually is pretty cool to get back into this area again. Plus, doing so with better form, more confidence, no questions on depth, etc.. so this is pretty big for me.

To me, it’s evidence my change up was good. Go from 5/3/1 to Strong-15 style. More work-/warm-up, reduced volume, singles to allow me to focus on technique and pour everything into the single.

I’m working to ensure technique is there on the work-up sets, that every set is done “right” and the same.

I felt really good. Admittedly a little unsure – because I’m getting back into the problem territory that started me in this, so not 100% sure, but going into the sets accepting it, ensuring I hit depth, stay tight, and make it happen.

Tightness is interesting too right now. I have to widen my grip to alleviate some pressure on my elbow, which of course removes some upper back tension/tightness. So, it’s making me more aware to make it tight instead of just trying to let it be tight from the scrunched-up position. I’m taking more time too. Get under the bar, get where I need to be, breathe, unrack. Stand there and let it settle. Breathe. Walk out. Settle. Breathe. Then go. I will say, one thing I’m still adjusting to is that the wider grip is putting my hands almost against the uprights – they do brush it. I have slight concerns about cutting/jamming my hands, and also just the bumping of course is a bump – it can cause things to shift and twist, which isn’t good. But it’s another reason I’m going slow and deliberate, to be able to mind that.

But hey — all in all, happy!

I think 350 should be do-able next cycle, given how this 340 felt.

I did skip leg press today. Last week I lightly strained my left adductor while leg pressing. It’s feeling a lot better now – not even feeling it, really. But that means it’s not time to dive back in. That means it’s mostly healed, but I know from experience it’s best to give it a little more time to ensure it actually is fully healed and not just pain free, y’know?

7th cycle, fixing my squat; modeled after Strong-15

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 8
    • 185 x 5
    • 210 x 4
    • 250 x 3
    • 275 x 2
    • 320 x 1
    • 330 x 1
    • 340 x 1
  • Pause Squats
    • 275 x 3
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min.

2018-10-29 training log

Today was OK.

In general, squats went fine. Last cycle’s heavy week worked up to 330, and now this cycle’s medium week is 330 (340 next week). Trying hard to focus on tightness, especially in the upper body.

My elbows weren’t happy, so I pushed my grip out slightly. That relieved pressure, but it also made me lose some tightness that just comes from bunching. I focused more on actively tightnening the back, which was kinda cool — my lats got really engaged and that did some great things. Alas, I couldn’t consistently replicate it, but it’s on my mind now. Also as a result, I could see on video that things didn’t move as well with my lower body – might have led with the knees, too far forward, etc.

I think one of these days I’d like to have an on-site coach to help me out here.

Anyways…

Then on leg presses, something started to feel bad with my left adductor – like gonna injure/strain/pull it. Not good. I am intentionally trying to go as deep as possible on the leg presses, because I want the stretch, the range, etc. But, this might be too much. Have to be mindful.

7th cycle, fixing my squat; modeled after Strong-15

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 8
    • 185 x 5
    • 210 x 4
    • 250 x 4 (did 4 because I didn’t remember it was a 3-set)
    • 275 x 2
    • 290 x 1
    • 320 x 1
    • 330 x 1
  • Pause Squats
    • 255 x 5
  • Leg Press (feet high and wide)
    • 90 x 10
    • 270 x 10
    • 360 x 10
    • 450 x 6
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-10-26 training log

Today was pretty awesome. 2 great rep PRs.

It’s 3+ week, so the work-up was to 185. 5 reps there came pretty easily and set a rep PR.

Then I planned to do 1 Joker set of 195×1. But I did tell myself, for a challenge, if it felt good to take 2 then take it. Well, it felt so good I took 3! The only reason I stopped was Jokers are to be 1-3 reps. And that sets a nice rep PR at 195. Consider as well that about a month ago I set an all time PR of 200×1, so getting 3 @ 195? Yeah, 200 won’t stand for long.

My whole plan this 3’s week was to set myself up well for the 1+ week (in 2 weeks). Next week is a 5’s “light” week, and I anticipate the 1+ week should go quite nicely. It’ll be tough, but I’m looking forward to it.

In other news…

One thing I noticed as I re-watched the video was my sticking point seemed to involve my head. That is, I stuck and my head was still back and not through the arms/bar. I noticed this as I was working and strove to ensure I pushed my head through either at the sticking point or ideally just before it so I wouldn’t stick. It did seem to make a difference, but it also exposed some weakness — not 100% sure where yet, could be my triceps (I’ve notice issues on bench lockout too, so starting to suspect that). Thus going down on the reps in my down sets. but no biggie, all good. Just more things to improve upon.

Back work – the neutral grip does seem to be helping. Huzzah.

I did have to cut a little short today: no hex DB holds, no bike. I have an early morning meeting to get to.

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Press. 195×3 top set. Great session. . Bar x 10, 85×5, 100×5, 125×3, 145×3, 165×3, 185×5, 195×3, 135×10, 135×10, 135×5. . 3+ week. Jokers. Superset face pulls during warmup. Medium width neutral grip cable rows during work sets. Finish with wide grip lat pulldowns. No hex holds nor bike – got an early morning meeting to make. . Ha ha ha! Top work set is a rep PR of 185×5. I planned on a Joker of 195×1, but I told myself if it felt good take 2. It felt so good I took an easy 3 (another rep PR)! Only stopped since Jokers are to be limited to 3. I like where this positions me for 1+ week. . Noticed on Press technique that my sticking point was worse if I didn’t push my head through at or just before the sticking point (watch 185’s reps). Worked on that during down sets, and that exposed some muscle weaknesses. More work. . Neutral grip back work seems better for my elbow. Plus, sleeping on me right side or back and not having a night’s worth of pressure on it seems to be helping too. . . . #gym #press #militarypress #pr #ignitefitnez #liftlocal #wendler531 #531

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5/3/1 (7th cycle, 3+/5/1+, Joker Sets)

  • Press
    • bar x 10
    • 80 x 5
    • 100 x 5
    • 125 x 3
    • 145 x 3
    • 165 x 3
    • 185 x 5 (rep PR)
    • 195 x 3 (Joker set, rep PR)
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 5
  • Face Pulls (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 85 x 15
    • 85 x 15
    • 85 x 15
    • 85 x 15
  • Neutral grip cable Rows (superset with press work sets)
    • 150 x 10
    • 165 x 10
    • 180 x 10
  • Wide-grip Pulldowns
    • 90 x 10
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 9

2018-10-25 training log

I know you can’t hit PRs every day – but it’s nice when you do. 🙂

This is 3+ week. I’m also doing Joker sets, and today worked me up to 485 — which is a PR. I hit 480 just last week, so 485 today was great!

Now the top set of 435, I only did 6. I knew I had more in the tank, and looking back I should have done at least 1 more (and I still would have had 1-2 in the tank). But I really wanted to hit the 485 today, and 6 was still a good showing. I’m working to position myself for a good work-up on 1+ week (in 2 weeks) to 495 — 5 wheels! That’ll be a big milestone.

The way 485 moved today? I know I’ll hit 495. It won’t be a cake-walk, but it will go up.

All in all, pretty happy with how things went today.

5/3/1 (7th cycle, 3+/5/1+, Jokers)

  • Deadlift (superset with band pullaparts)
    • 195 x 5
    • 240 x 5
    • 290 x 3
    • 340 x 3
    • 390 x 3
    • 435 x 6
    • 455 x 1
    • 485 x 1
  • RDLs
    • 305 x 8
    • 305 x 8
    • 305 x 8
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min.

2018-10-23 training log

That feeling of panic when you can’t find your phone. 🙂

Accidentally left my phone at home, so today’s session was best guessing. Turns out I lifted heavier than I was supposed to: was to do 200, 230, 255, but I did 225, 240, 255. Not really a big deal, but when it’s coupled with the Jokers, I think it is. I have hit 275 before no problem, and I did 285 for a PR last week — but it’s generally been touch and go. Today, my descents were slower and I made a point to pause the first rep of each set. And so the same with the Jokers: a definitive pause on the chest.

and the 285 went up great.

I’m happy with that. 285 last week touch-and-go, 285 this week paused. AND with a harder workup this time too. I take that all as good signs of progress.

That said, apart from the superset back work, it’s all I did. I guess I slept on my left shoulder weirdly and it wasn’t feeling great today. I could feel it as I worked up and was bracing myself for my body to say “stop”. I opted instead of the 175x10x3 to just do 135 for AMRAP and see. Well, I got to 12 and opted to stop because my shoulder was saying “OK, that’s enough”. Not in a bad way, just in a way of “why bother doing any more if it’s only going to make things annoyed and not better”. So I did, and skipped the remaining back work too.

No biggie. Next week is a 5s week and “light”.

Oh, on the rows. I’m holding weight at 100# and just cranking 10 reps/set. I realize my reps haven’t been quality, so I’m wanting to stay here a bit and clean up the reps.

5/3/1 (7th cycle, 3+/5/1+PR, Joker)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 115 x 5
    • 140 x 5
    • 170 x 3
    • 225 x 3
    • 240 x 3
    • 265 x 6
    • 275 x 1 (Joker, paused)
    • 285 x 1 (Joker, paused)
  • Face Pulls (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 85 x 15
    • 85 x 15
    • 85 x 15
    • 85 x 15
  • DB Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 100 x 10e
    • 100 x 10e
    • 100 x 10e

2018-10-22 training log

I’ve decided to just keep going.

I started back around the end of May, finding 1RMs. I did 3 cycles: 2-leader, 1-anchor, with deloads. Then another such run, which takes me to 6 cycles. It’s typical after 6-8 cycles to need a reset. Well, if I look at what I’m hitting on my 1+ weeks, I still have something in me and don’t NEED a reset. So, I’m just going to keep going. Technically since I just finished I should be taking a deload this week, but given how I feel and looking at my calendar, I’m just forging ahead.

The current plan is to stick with 3/5/1 style, Jokers, with “light” assistance work for another 3-weeks, take a 7th week deload, then another 3 weeks, deload, and so on. Just see how far I can take it, because I don’t expect many more cycles ahead. Oh, and squats will continue with Strong-15 style. I’ll follow the 3rd cycle setup and just increase 10# on my TM each time.

My goal is to milk this strength cycle as much as I can, and see what I can hit by the end of it. I already broke a 200# press, and I am pretty close to a 500 deadlift and 300 bench press. It’d be awesome if I could hit those before things tap out by the end of the year.

So with that, here I am.

TM went up, and while the work-up itself increased the top singles decreased. It’s just the wave nature of the cycle. But things did feel good and moved well. I still see myself slightly tilting right to favor my right leg, and that’s just going to take time to overcome. But things overall felt good. Biggest thing I find myself focusing on is getting the whole body tight, KEEPING it tight, and leading with the hips (not the knees/legs).

7th cycle; modeled after Strong-15

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 8
    • 185 x 5
    • 210 x 4
    • 250 x 3
    • 275 x 2
    • 285 x 1
    • 305 x 1
    • 320 x 1
  • Pause Squats
    • 240 x 5
  • Leg Press (feet high and wide, going as deep as I can)
    • 90 x 10
    • 270 x 10
    • 360 x 10
    • 450 x 10
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-10-19 training log

A good day.

Work up was to a top set of 190, where I got 4 reps – Rep PR. Then I went for a Joker set of a single at 200. Got that.

What was great about this to me is 2 weeks ago I did 190 for a Joker and it was a grinder, and then today I get it for 4. And 3 weeks ago I worked up to 200 on a very light work-up trying to conserve energy for that top set. But then here I’m putting all out and get 200 in a fatigued state. So that’s some nice progress.

Face pulls continue to be a little nicer for my elbow, and a nice change of pace. I also opted to try swapping out barbell rows for some medium-width neutral grip cable rows instead — and the neutral grip feels better on my elbow, and also felt a lot more in my lats! So I’ll probably stick with the cable rows for a bit.

All in all, a pretty good day.

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Press. 200×1 top set. Great session. . Bar x 10, 80×5, 100×5, 120×3, 150×5, 170×3, 190×4, 200×1, 135×10, 135×10, 135×8. . 1+ week. Superset face pulls during warmup. Medium width neutral grip cable rows during work sets. Finish with wide grip lat pulldowns, hex DB holds, 10 min stationary bike. . Too much fun. Rep PR with 190×4, then a Joker single of 200×1. Work up went well and it wasn’t too long ago 195 was my 1RM. I hit 200 3 weeks ago on a light work up, and 190 on a Joker 2 weeks ago was tough. So to hit 190 for 4 then 200 for 1 today in a fatigued state? Yeah, that’s progress. . Swapped neutral grip cable rows for BB rows; wanted to see if the grip change would be nicer on my elbow. So far so good. . . . #gym #press #militarypress #pr #ignitefitnez #liftlocal #wendler531 #531 #🤘 #itsgottabethehair

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This weekend I’ll determine exactly what I want to do going forward.

5/3/1 (6th cycle, anchor, 3+/5/1+, Joker Sets)

  • Press
    • bar x 10
    • 80 x 5
    • 100 x 5
    • 120 x 3
    • 150 x 5
    • 170 x 3
    • 190 x 4 (rep PR)
    • 200 x 1 (Joker)
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 8
  • Face Pulls (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 80 x 15
    • 80 x 15
    • 80 x 15
    • 80 x 15
  • Medium-width neutral grip cable rows (superset with press work sets)
    • 135 x 10
    • 150 x 10
    • 165 x 10
    • 165 x 10
  • Wide-grip Pulldowns
    • 90 x 10
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 9
    • 145 x 8

2018-10-18 training log

Top set of 480×1 – PR. Decent day.

Everything felt heavy, but of course it should. Top work set of 450×5 was OK. I didn’t feel that great about it, and I should have been able to get a 6th rep, but wasn’t in me. I could have ground it out, but why?

But then hitting 480 for a single was cool. That’s a true personal best, and doing it in a fatigued state is even cooler. I’m pretty sure I have 500 in me.

RDLs continue to slay me. I dig finally finding a groove for them: heavier, sets of 8.

I opted to drop the reverse hypers. While I would LIKE to do them, the amount of posterior fatigue after the deadlifts and RDLs is real. I’m getting better in my sleep issues, but still tried and burning out from day job work. No point in continuing to dig myself deeper, especially if without them I’m still making progress everywhere.

That said, I am thinking about “what next”. I’m hitting decent rep PRs, so I see no reason to stop. Technically this is cycle 6 and I should do a deload next week. Debating if I should do that (7th week protocol style) or just kick into another cycle. Point is, I don’t expect I have many cycles left before I MUST reset. So, just keep milking it kinda free-form (vs. the strict 2-leader 1-anchor style approach). I’ll try to sort it out this weekend. Basically, milk the strength training as much as I can, and let’s see if I can hit a 300# bench and 500# deadlift (I’ve already done a 200# press; and squat – just try to keep getting better) before the end of the year.

5/3/1 (6th cycle, anchor, 3+/5/1+, Jokers)

  • Deadlift (superset with band pullaparts)
    • 190 x 5
    • 240 x 5
    • 285 x 3
    • 355 x 5
    • 405 x 3
    • 450 x 5 (rep PR)
    • 480 x 1 (lifetime PR)
  • RDLs
    • 295 x 8
    • 295 x 8
    • 295 x 8
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-10-16 training log

Decent day. Set a personal best of 285×1 bench press.

The top set of 265×5 was OK – didn’t like how the bar moved. My shoulders and arms just felt off and unhappy; hard to see in the video, but it’s there. So I figured I could take the Joker @ 285 and that went ok. I had been thinking about attempting 300, if things felt good — and they didn’t feel good enough to bother. Soon tho… 

Things overall feel a little sluggish. Hard to tell if it’s me or just because it’s 6th cycle and weights are getting heavier and I’m getting more beat up. Been many weeks.

Everything else is what it is. Just assistance work.

5/3/1 (6th cycle, anchor, 3+/5/1+PR, Joker)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 110 x 5
    • 140 x 5
    • 170 x 3
    • 210 x 5
    • 240 x 3
    • 265 x 5
    • 285 x 1 (Joker, PR)
    • 170 x 10
    • 170 x 10
    • 170 x 8
  • Face Pulls (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
  • DB Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 100 x 10e
    • 100 x 10e
    • 100 x 10e
  • Narrow-Grip Pulldowns
    • 90 x 10
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 8
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-10-15 training log

Not bad, not bad.

Worked up to a top set of 330×1. I’d say RPE… 8.5 or so. I reckon I could have either done another 1-2 reps, or a little more weight. But it’s up there.

Watching the video:

I saw a lean towards the right. It’s a long-standing thing due to compensating for my left knee issues. I struggle with it a bunch. Today, wasn’t on my mind — I was more thinking about being tight, especially in the upper body and torso (360º push into the belt); about (hip) DRIVING out of the hole; hitting depth; not rushing anything (take time to set up, unrack and take a moment to settle, step back and settle, just take your time – and strive to NOT lose tightness, tho since that will happen be sure to tighten back up after each phase), and just nailing the damn squat. I did alright.

Biggest thing is that I feel my confidence is returning. I opted to change my squat approach because I was having confidence issues, cutting depth, etc.. I’m not cutting depth; in fact, often going deeper. I think this is working out well for me because it’s not highly fatiguing (esp. to my knees), I get more warm-up/work-up, which translates into a little more opportunity to get technique dialed in before doing heavier sets, and then some heavier singles because that’s where I need the confidence return.

Yeah, things kinda messed with my head a bit because I’m hitting that tipping point, but nailing it well today was confirmation I need to just keep going. 🙂

Pause squats I think are a big help here: gotta be tight, gotta hit depth, gotta hold.

Leg presses I think are also helping since I’m taking a stance closer to my squat. Plus, I try to make every rep deeper than the prior one – get a stretch, going rather deep. I also think this is helping.

6th cycle, fixing my squat; modeled after Strong-15

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 8
    • 175 x 5
    • 205 x 4
    • 240 x 3
    • 265 x 2
    • 315 x 1
    • 320 x 1
    • 330 x 1
  • Pause Squats
    • 265 x 3
  • Leg Press (feet high and wide)
    • 90 x 10
    • 270 x 15
    • 360 x 15
    • 450 x 8
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min.